(1921)

the stick stood in the corner of the kitchen
a constant threat; stoking, as it was meant to,
chronic intimidation

he had a man’s right to deliver his blows
to vent his anger and his self-contempt
to cause suffering for the insufferable

someone had to make it up to him,
his loss-of-face to race, creed and poverty

for her part, eve’s daughter was ripe,
shamed by her intrinsic sinfulness,
worn by her constant pregnancies

her femininity: tired and task-bound,
guilt flowing freely, as all-consuming as lava

[relief, only in death]

and the seventh child was born to die
and the man was demanding his bread

she wrapped the girl in swaddling cloth,
placed her gently by the stove, and
while the newborn made busy with dying,
the woman prepared him his meal

– Jamie Dedes
(2)_Cycle_of_abuse,_power_&_control_issues_in_domestic_abuse_situations

© 2015, poem, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved; illustration source is the National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence, the photograph used here is by moggs oceanlane under CC BY 2.o license

9 thoughts on “a man, a woman, a stick

  1. I was hoping that this was fictional. I met a lady this year at David’s 50th reunion who wants me to help her write her story of her healing after having been abused her whole childhood. I’m praying about it. Don’t know if I have the spiritual or physical energy, the psychic energy to be able to do it. Any thoughts?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s tough. I ghosted the story of a Vietnamese woman who ultimately married an American and came to the states and started a second family. She lost everyone in her first family. Killed except for two son, whom she sold. When I encounter stories like these, I know that no matter the life challenges, I’m incredibly fortunate. I’ve had nothing happen to me that compares to this.

      Like

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